A Life of Grace

A Cool Art Project and Another Reason to Like This Town
January 22, 2009, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Tacoma


I came across this in my inbox this morning. It’s sounds awesome and I will certainly be keeping my eye out.

Ms. Monkey
(253) 222-0716

600 Hand-blown Glass Balls to be Hidden in Tacoma for Chinese New Year

Tacoma, WAJanuary 22 – For the sixth year in a row, Monkeyshines, Tacoma’s anonymous glass art project, will be placing  hand-blown glass balls throughout the streets and neighborhoods of Tacoma sometime around the date of Chinese New Year. But thanks to a grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission, this year will feature a distribution of approximately 600 glass balls—three times as large as any previous year.

Monkeyshines first became a news item in 2004, when they gave away more than 200 glass balls in honor of the Chinese Year of the Monkey. The next year, in honor of the Chinese Year of the Rooster, 300 glass medallions emblazoned with the profile of a rooster were hidden throughout Tacoma . 2006, 2007 and 2008 saw glass balls stamped with the profile of a dog a boar and a rat, respectively. 

In honor of The Year of the Ox, this year’s balls are stamped with an ox’s image. The artworks will be hidden throughout the city sometime aroundChinese New Year, but Monkeyshines won’t give a specific date or time. “The last few years, we’ve had a little trouble with people hanging out on Chinese New Year’s Eve and taking more than one ball,” said a Monkeyshines artist. “This time, we’re keeping the distribution schedule a secret to give more people a chance to find one of these surprises.” For 2009, the new year’s day falls on Monday, January 26.The balls are meant to be gifts for whoever finds them. The artists and participants who hide the balls try to vary the locations to keep the chance of finding one a true surprise. On previous years, the balls were spotted on local beaches, in the branches of trees, throughout downtown, and in clever spots in many Tacoma neighborhoods.

“Oxen are steady, honest, gentle and reliable,” said a Monkeyshines spokesperson. “They’re also seen as a sign of prosperity. I think nearly all of us are really longing for almost everything on that list, making the ox the ideal symbol for the coming year.”In conjunction with the glass art, local poster artists Beautiful Angle created an ox-themed poster, featuring the words, “It’s good and today could get even better,” in reference to a recent front-page News Tribune headline that said, “It’s bad—and today could get even worse.” Monkeyshines representatives want to be clear that the glass balls are meant to be found, taken home, and shared with friends. “This is an art project that is of, by, and for our community,” said one of the lead participants.

Monkeyshines is not an organization. It is a slightly-crazed art project that may or may not occur again. Keep looking in the low-growing branches of trees for more information.  


2 Comments so far
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I wanted to find one last year, but did not succeed. Maybe I will this year. I love this kind of thing.

Comment by Kenneth Coble

perhaps we need to plan a monkeyshines party and go on a hunt!

Comment by jessica uhler

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